The Pentagon is not immune to spending cuts, and many lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are looking for ways to reduce the budget of the Department of Defense while not hurting military capabilities. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn believes he has found a number of areas in the Pentagon budget that can be eliminated. If cut, the United States can save $68 billion over the next 10 years, according to The Associated Press.
Coburn says that many of the services offered by the Pentagon may not be worth the cost. For example, he suggests the military should consider eliminating practices like running its own grocery stores and operating its own schools. He also points out that many of the services are redundant and have no role in the nation's security.
There were six areas in particular Coburn says get the most unnecessary funding. The Pentagon spends approximately $10.7 billion on education each year, along with $6 billion on research not aimed at improving the military. He also says there was $700 million spent on unnecessary or duplicate research on alternative energy. With the federal deficit skyrocketing, Coburn says it's unwise to spend billions of dollars on such programs, according to the AP.
"Our nation's $16 trillion debt is the new red menace, posing perhaps a greater threat to our nation than any military adversary," Coburn's report states.
Some of Coburn's suggestions may be implemented as Congress looks for ways to come to an agreement on making federal budget cuts to avoid the fiscal cliff. However, if lawmakers are unable to come to a compromise, it will enact sequestration – across-the-board budget cuts that could drastically alter the capabilities of the Armed Forces. The move adds $500 billion in cuts on top of the $487 billion already planned. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is confident legislators will meet somewhere in the middle.
"I really do think that, coming out of the election, this is a real opportunity for both Republicans and Democrats to address the fundamental challenge that faces this country with regards to our deficit," Panetta said during a recent press conference.
Along with Coburn's suggestions, other legislators have had some recommendations. Among the most controversial suggestions is a hike on TRICARE fees.